Taking into consideration the number of movies made based on books I am surprised this has not been done on such a scale before as an announcement came down today that is as major as it is unique. Focus Features and Random House, Inc., the book publishing division of Bertelsmann AG, are teaming up to create Random House Films. The terms of the deal call for the companies to develop movies together and co-finance and co-produce a substantial slate of feature films for theatrical release, all based on books published by Random House imprints in North America and internationally.
Yeah, if you don’t think other studios are envious or will be looking to fall in line with other book publishers you’re crazy. But wait, it gets bigger.
The partnership’s films will be derived from newly published, forthcoming, and backlist titles, reflecting the enormous range of Random House titles — adult, children’s, young reader’s, and religious and inspirational — for which motion picture rights are available and can be acquired. Random House and Focus will jointly acquire film rights for the books and partner together on script development, director selection, all phases of production, and marketing and publicity.
Some material will be developed and produced at Focus’ sibling production unit Rogue Pictures. Films co-produced by Focus or Rogue with Random House Films will be jointly owned, with Focus holding worldwide distribution and sales rights.
The agreement also has book-publishing components; Random House, pending rights availability, will be able to publish original screenplays and “making of” books of films that come out of the partnership. Additionally, if Focus develops an original screenplay which the partners believe can be turned into a novel or nonfiction book, Random House, through the author’s agent, will have the opportunity to become that book’s publisher.
Just using Focus Features as an example, let’s take a look at some recent and upcoming films of theirs that were adapted from books:
Â· The Pianist
Â· The Motorcycle Diaries
Â· Pride and Prejudice
Â· The Constant Gardener
Â· The Ice Harvest
Â· Brokeback Mountain
Â· Vanity Fair
Â· The Door in the Floor
Random House is the world’s largest trade book publisher, with more than 100 publishing imprints around the world, including Ballantine, Bantam, Crown, Dell, Doubleday, Knopf, and many which have the Random House name. Mr. Gethers will be based in New York and will be responsible for every aspect of the company’s filmmaking activities. He will work with Random House publishers and editors worldwide to identify and evaluate books of theirs which have the potential to be made into movies by the partnership, and with Focus executives on all aspects of the filmmaking process.